ExteNet acquires Axiom Fiber Networks, enhances NYC fiber footprint

ExteNet, a provider of Distributed Network Systems (DNS) for wireless and wireline broadband providers, is acquiring Axiom Fiber networks, deepening its New York City fiber footprint to take advantage of the growing small cell backhaul market.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The company said the acquisition is anticipated to close once regulatory approvals are completed.

RELATED: ExteNet Systems owns more than 245 fiber miles in Manhattan, but details remain unclear

While ExteNet has been a bit quiet about the exact details of its fiber network, a number of reports revealed that the service provider has 245 fiber miles in Manhattan as part of the company’s effort to supply backhaul connections to its distributed antenna systems, small cells and other distributed wireless networks.

Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in a research note to investors in April that the company confirmed that  outside of New York City it “owns 99% of its fiber,” which is “not only in top NFL cities but also in Tier 2-type markets.”

ExteNet’s acquisition strategy is certainly in line with the industry-wide trend of fiber and small cell-centric providers bulking up their fiber network holdings to get a larger piece of the small cell backhaul market.

The vendor’s move to acquire more fiber makes sense as it will enable it to better respond to existing customers like Sprint and other large Tier 1 wireless operators. ExteNet supplied Sprint with 200 small cells in Manhattan that the carrier said boosted its median download speeds by 43% and its median upload speeds by 56%, for example.

Fellow small cell operator Crown Castle, for one, recently signed a $7 billion purchase of Lightower in a deal that will immediately double its fiber network mile holdings. Upon completing the Lightower deal, Crown Castle will have 60,000 route miles of fiber, with a presence in all of the top 10 and 23 of the top 25 metro markets. That will make the company one of the larger fiber network operators.

Lightower is just one of five fiber deals Crown Castle has made over the past two years. Crown Castle has also purchased three fiber operators: Wilcon, FiberNet, Sunesys and 24/7 Mid-Atlantic.